Google Glass: more tales from the intersection of society and tech

It seems like every week brings a new round of stories about Google Glass and the frictions that can arise as people grapple with questions about the proper uses of new technology.

Reuters is reporting Tuesday that Google has mounted lobbying efforts aimed at heading off legislation to ban or restrict the use of Glass while driving, in at least three states. We’ve reported before on the case of a Southern California woman who got a ticket for driving while wearing Glass, and then beat the citation in court by arguing that she was only wearing – but not using – the device behind the wheel.

Reuters counts eight other states where legislators have introduced bills that target Glass as a potential cause of distracted driving. Glass isn’t widely available, although Google has said it hopes to begin consumer sales this year. But the company clearly wants to have an early say in any discussions around regulating their use.

Meanwhile, from San Francisco comes the story of a Glass owner who was demonstrating the gadget for someone at the bar of a Haight Street tavern. KPIX 5 reported that the exchange started out friendly, but things got ugly when some other patrons apparently got upset about the possibility the device might be recording them.

Sarah Slocum reportedly had her Glass ripped off her face, and someone stole her purse and phone, according to KPIX, which spoke with bar patrons to confirm an account Slocum posted on her Facebook page. As Slocum put it, “OMG … I got verbally and physically assaulted and robbed last night in the city, had things thrown at me because of some *** Google Glass haters.”

We’ve heard of other cases where people reacted negatively, or over-reacted, to Glass-wearers. (And cases where bars banned the device, although at least some of those seemed to be publicity stunts.) Sometimes it’s because people don’t understand how the device works – it doesn’t record constantly, and the tiny prism lights up when it is recording. Other times, it seems the wearers were acting in a manner that annoyed others. Google acknowledged the potential for friction in its recent posting on Glass etiquette, which advises that Glass owners shouldn’t expect to be ignored.

(Photo of woman trying Glass by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (350 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.